AJW adapts ex-Aveos repair shop to its needs

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UK spare parts specialist AJ Walter Aviation will focus its first in-house repair activities at the former Aveos component shop in Montreal, Canada, on Airbus A320 and Boeing 767 equipment.

AJW has thus far managed component repairs through a range of external service providers. But with the recent takeover of the former Aveos component shop - following the Canadian MRO provider's bankruptcy in March - the UK company changed its business model towards offering in-house repair capabilities.

Greg Martin, general manager for the facility - dubbed AJW Technique - has detailed the strategy for the planned re-opening in early 2013.

AJW reorganised the repair shop and reduced its footprint by around 25% by cutting out activities such as logistics and administration, for which it already has facilities in other locations.

But AJW will also focus its repair business on fewer capabilities. Martin says that Aveos's component MRO activities had covered a broad range of part numbers, many of which did not create sufficiently large work volumes to make the business viable and to warrant holding the respective stock levels.

While Aveos's capabilities centred on 767 and A320 equipment - to support the fleet of its former parent and main customer Air Canada - the Montreal-based MRO provider also made forays into components for 777s, A330s and A340s, as well as Bombardier and Embraer regional aircraft. But Martin says these latter capabilities did not command a "significant market presence".

AJW Technique will therefore focus on 767 and A320 component repair for the time being. If the business and market develop favourably, capabilities may be expanded to other types such as 737s in future.

While no final decision has been taken, Martin says there is a "distinct possibility" that the repair capabilities for Bombardier and Embraer models will be discontinued.

AJW aims to employ 200-250 staff members at the shop over the next three years, most of whom will be recruited from the former Aveos workforce. New labour contracts should provide more flexibility than in the past, says Martin, while the new owner will also implement "cost control mechanisms" through its international footprint.

Aveos had planned to employ up to 500 staff members when it opened the component shop in a newly refurbished facility in early 2011.

Air Canada is not among AJW Technique's customers, says Martin. While the carrier would be welcome, he adds that the new facility will have a "strong level of work" from the UK company's existing customers.

AJW's repair management activities have to date largely been handled in response to ad hoc enquiries from operators. But in future, Martin expects that the in-house repair capabilities could lead to more total support contracts.

The UK company wants to work in a "close and open collaborative manner" with the original equipment manufacturers from the start, Martin adds. This could include becoming an authorised service centre for individual component OEMs in the future.